A new hospital is set to replace the “deteriorating” Watford General.
The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Rt Hon Steve Barclay MP, made the announcement in the House of Commons today (Thursday, May 25).
Sir Mike Penning MP for Hemel Hempstead said:“I very much welcome this news. I and community action groups such as the New Hospital Campaign group have been campaigning for a completely new acute hospital for all in West Hertfordshire and I am delighted that a fully funded completely new building has been given the go-ahead today.
“We are understandably disappointed that it will be on the existing Watford site when it is so obvious that a new site, equally accessible from Hemel Hempstead, St Albans and Watford would have been the more sensible option, but I concede that that battle has now been lost.
“It is right, though, to welcome this news. Watford General has deteriorated to such an extent that a completely new hospital is much needed and I know that staff and patients alike will be pleased with this news.
“I welcome the news that some of the money will go towards improving what we have at Hemel Hempstead and I will, of course, continue to work to ensure that we get the best we can out of this deal.”
The government is on track to deliver the manifesto commitment to build 40 new hospitals in England by 2030. Two hospitals are already complete and five in construction. By the end of next year more than 20 will be underway or complete.
Following the announcement Dean Russell MP for Watford said: “I am overjoyed with today’s announcement. I stood on a manifesto commitment to secure a hospital for Watford fit for the 21st century. Today’s news will transform healthcare for local residents and ensure our fantastic NHS staff and volunteers will work in world-class facilities.
“I make no apologies for endlessly badgering the Health Secretary, the Chancellor, and the Prime Minister for this funding. I have welcomed five Government Ministers to Watford General, held endless conversations with Ministers and local NHS senior leadership, written several letters and ensured Watford is consistently heard in the House of Commons Chamber to ensure Watford is at the top of the New Hospital Programme.
“As we celebrate this incredible news, I would like to pay tribute to my predecessor and the Trust’s leadership team and staff for their work in ensuring the Trust had the watertight plans to ensure we would remain front of the queue for new and improved healthcare services. Not only will we get a flagship new hospital in Watford but the Trust’s other sites in Hemel and St Albans will see significant improvement works.
I made a promise to Watford residents that we would secure world-class facilities. Thank you to everyone who supported me and the Trust in securing this announcement. We did this together.”
Health Minister Lord Markham said: “We are investing in new NHS facilities across the country giving patients the certainty they can access world-leading care in state-of-the-art hospitals, both now and in the years to come.”
Matthew Coats, West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust’s chief executive, said: “This is fantastic news. Our patients and staff can look forward to a complete transformation in terms of our buildings and the way our services work together. Our staff work so hard in buildings that add challenge to already demanding jobs. I am so pleased that we will be able to offer a far better working environment and one they can be proud of. Local people can be assured that the new hospital has been designed with the sole priority of delivering our vision; the very best care for every patient, every day.”